Monday, 16 February 2015

Time to Talk Day - Living with a mental illness

It's a weird feeling being depressed. That feeling of emptiness, loneliness. I can't say I have ever been exposed to such intense emotions before, but after a terrible break up last year I reached rock bottom. July 2014 - the month my relationship ended for good. The heartbreak, the anguish, the sadness. I often cried myself to sleep - not just because of the break up, but because of the torment, the sheer torture my partner had put me through for so long.

Yes, I was in a very unstable relationship and many of you reading this may feel no empathy, but if you haven't been in a similar situation, then it is difficult to understand. There was a time when I would once mock girls who would run back to their partners after they had cheated on them, or even abused them for that matter. I saw this as a sign of weakness rather than strength but let me tell you - it takes a lot of strength to keep going back there - there is only so much pain one can expose themselves to. After finding myself in a similar situation, I now understand the  mental strains a relationship of that sort can have on a individual. 

Talking about mental illnesses can be difficult. I never understood what it meant to have a mental illness before I met my ex partner who suffered with a personality disorder, but here I am two years later working in mental health (the sheer irony). Since then I have been passionate in my bid to get people talking about mental illness. In fact, I never thought I would pluck up the courage to write something like this, and so openly too. But if I can make a difference to just one person's life by sharing this post, that would make me a very happy woman indeed. 

If there is one thing working in mental health has taught me; it's the vast about of mental health issues out there, and the sheer amount of us suffering and not reaching out to anyone. Many people don't realise how closely intertwined both our physical health and mental health are. It makes perfect sense though -if you are ill in hospital, obviously this is going to have a drastic effect on the way you are feeling mentally. We all know too well that the government aren't investing enough money into mental health services. This often takes a back seat in comparison to acute Trusts. However, this is an issue that is being addressed and  will 
hopefully improve over time.

Last week on 5th February it was Time to Talk day, a national event which encouraged the nation to start talking about mental health, whilst challenging those stigmas often attached to mental health issues. Being able to promote such an important event was incredible. I got to talk to so many different people, some of whom had suffered previously with mental illness, and others who were intrigued to find out more. 
Sometimes it is the little things like starting  a conversation with a stranger which really help. I know I used to struggle when speaking about my depression as this is something my family never understood. Again, this comes down to not being able to relate to the situation. My father is very old fashioned in his beliefs and would often laugh off the idea of me being depressed.

Generally, I have always been a happy girl, very outgoing and sociable, but the chemical imbalance in my brain for that year or so during my relationship was very concerning. It was so easy for me to slip back into that depressive mode where staying in the house seemed a better option than venturing out. I grabbed onto the highs and tried to eliminate the lows but it's easier said than done. Sometimes your thoughts are your worst enemy. The only way forward was to keep occupied, to think positively. Positive thinking breeds positive actions. I know how easy it is to sit and feel sorry for yourself - I have done that many of times. It's about getting up and starting to make those positive changes which is the hardest part. Remember, you are never alone. Whether it's your family, friends or even a professional, there is always someone to help.

If you want to find out more about Time to Talk day, then click here and join in the conversation.

Have you ever dealt with a mental illness? What do you understand about mental health?


  1. I think things like Time to Talk Day are a great idea and I've really noticed a shift recently in people wanting to talk more openly about mental health. I want to work in mental health in the future, so it's really encouraging to see attitudes changing.
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

    1. To be honest, I hadn't heard of Time to Change before I started working in mental health but it is a great idea. I think attitudes are definitely altering for the good. I have heard a lot about mental health on the radio/news recently.



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